Accounts of Innocence: Sexual Abuse, Trauma, and the Self

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University of Chicago Press, 2005 - Family & Relationships - 340 pages
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Since a new sensitivity and orientation to victims of injustice arose in the 1960s, categories of victimization have proliferated. Large numbers of people are now characterized and characterize themselves as sufferers of psychological injury caused by the actions of others. In contrast with the familiar critiques of victim culture, Accounts of Innocence offers a new and empirically rich perspective on the question of why we now place such psychological significance on victimization in people's lives.

Focusing on the case of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, Joseph E. Davis shows how the idea of innocence shaped the emergence of trauma psychology and continues to inform accounts of the past (and hopes for the future) in therapy with survivor clients. His findings shed new light on the ongoing debate over recovered memories of abuse. They challenge the notion that victim accounts are an evasion of personal responsibility. And they suggest important ways in which trauma psychology has had unintended and negative consequences for how victims see themselves and for how others relate to them.

An important intervention in the study of victimization in our culture, Accounts of Innocence will interest scholars of clinical psychology, social work, and sociology, as well as therapists and victim activists.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Incest and Sexual Offenses before the Social Discovery of Sexual Abuse
25
Constructing Sexual Abuse 1 Family Therapy and the Child Protection Movement
55
Constructing Sexual Abuse 2 The Antirape Movement and Victim Activists
79
Interpreting Abuse From Collective Story to Psychological Trauma Model
109
Therapeutic Rationale and Therapeutic Persuasion
143
The Victimization Account
165
From Victim to Survivor and Beyond
192
Memory Wars
219
Accounts of Innocence
244
Methodological Appendix
265
Notes
271
References
305
Index
331
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About the author (2005)

Joseph E. Davis is research assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia.

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